The Daily News will soon be labeled on its front page as an edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, though the two papers will still be sold separately, maintain separate news staffs and compete for stories, officials of Philadelphia Media Holdings announced yesterday.

Philadelphia Media Holdings' chief executive, Brian Tierney, said the change would save money by allowing the publications to act as a single subscriber to wire services, and will be helpful in ad sales.

"Instead of telling advertisers we have 330,000 circulation [at the Inquirer] plus the Daily News, it will help to say we have 440,000 daily circulation," Tierney said.

The Daily News will continue to publish as a tabloid and will be sold separately to home subscribers and in street sales.

"It's not going to be combined. It's not going to be changed," Tierney said.

For the two papers to be regarded as a single publication by the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which monitors newspaper sales, the phrase "an edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer" will appear under the Daily News logo on the front page. The change takes effect March 30.

Daily News Editor Michael Days said readers of the paper will still get the product to which they're accustomed.

"Nothing is going to change about our passionate voices, about how we do what we do," Days said. "We'll be a unique edition of the Inquirer, and the emphasis is on the unique."

Although the change comes just a week after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Daily News publisher Mark Frisby said the change had been considered for about a year. *